Expert Advice On Business Networking And Tips On Developing Your Networking Skills

Dan Schawbel interview – Personal Branding Expert

Dan Schawbel is a leading personal branding expert for Gen-Y. He is the author of “Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success“. Fast Company calls Dan a “personal branding force of nature.”

His Personal Branding Blog is consistently ranked in the top 100 marketing blogs in the world by AdAge, and has achieved syndication from Forbes, Reuters and Hoovers. Dan publishes Personal Branding Magazine, is the head judge for the Personal Brand Awards and directs Personal Branding TV. He is a social media specialist for EMC, as well as a speaker and adviser on branding.

Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?

Dan Schawbel: Networking shouldn’t be limited to straight business. In general, I tell people to make their lives one big networking event. Having that mentality will get you really far because your family, friends, teachers, career advisers and coworkers are all part of your network already.

You should focus on networking more outside of your company than within because there is no job security anymore. Business networking is forming relationships based on mutual interest and it’s important because social equity weighs more than capital equity.

Josh: Dan, can you please share a few ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?

Dan Schawbel: I think participating in social media can help you become more proficient in writing, reading, presenting and, of course, marketing. When it comes to business networking, the key is to become a great communicator and to be likable. If you have both of those working for you and are extroverted, then all you need to do if find the right people.

I would recommend networking with people who are more successful than yourself because they are the ones that can open up opportunities for you and make you smarter at the same time.

The more you network, the easier it will become. There is a snowball event with networking, such that, when your network gets larger, it becomes easier to be introduced to new people.

Josh: For some people knowing where to go to network in the first place is a problem. Can you share some specific resources, events, or places that you have found helpful for meeting new people and growing your business network?

Dan Schawbel: I would use your friends referrals, your teachers and social networking sites such as upcoming and Facebook, in order to discover networking events that match your interests.

Finding events that are related to your industry is extremely important because it’s a whole lot easier to meet people you have something in common with. If you are a known entity, people will typically invite you to events, either as a speaker, panelist or as press.

The more people you can meet online or in face-to-face situations, the easier it will be to find out where the next event is because they might already go to them.

Josh: How do you follow up with the people you meet? Do you have any particular system in place for keeping up with and managing the relationships in your business network?

Dan Schawbel: I think everyone in the world should have a business card, regardless of age or career stage. This includes college students, who don’t work for companies.

Aside from passing out your “creative” business card, you have 24 hours to send that person a message. It’s typically better to beat them to the punch, when it comes to the follow-up because it shows you care and value the relationship.

I use Microsoft Excel to manage relationships, but it gets harder as your network grows. I know there are online services that offer this service, such as LinkedIn and JibberJobber, but you can always keep tabs on it on your desktop if you want.

Happy Networking! Josh Hinds

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  • JibberJobber Guy

    Josh and Dan, thanks for the shoutout.

    I think using LinkedIn as a CRM is a mistake, for a number of reasons (the primary one might be that your contacts could OPT OUT of your “database,” which a real CRM would never allow). You can keep tabs on people you are connected to, but not everyone you meet will or can connect with you.

    JibberJobber was designed to step in at the point that Dan talks about, when the spreadsheet is about to burst at the seams.

    Jason Alba – totally biased 😉
    CEO –
    Author – I’m on LinkedIn — Now What???

  • Josh Hinds

    Howdy Jason. “Totally biased” or not your participation and thoughts here are always appreciated! 🙂

    Btw. Folks, you can check out Jason Alba’s interview if you'd like. He shared some great advice on the topic of networking & relationship marketing.